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Daughter starts checking off things on her deceased father's bucket list

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Laura Carney was 25 when she heard the news. A distracted driver in Limerick, Pa., struck and killed her father. It happened almost two decades ago.

LAURA CARNEY: It's very, very hard to move past that moment in your head. And I couldn't move past it for many years. And it made it so that it was very painful to think about my dad.

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

Then a discovery gave her a chance to think of him in a different way. A few years ago, her brother found a list among their dad's belongings.

INSKEEP: It was titled "Things I Would Like to Do Before I Die." And Carney instantly knew she had to finish it for him.

CARNEY: It was really a gut decision. It happened in an instant in my heart. I felt, this is something I'm supposed to be doing.

FADEL: The list had 60 items and only five checked off. Her father had been a writer, musician and salesman. And the list reflected his varied interests. Plant a watermelon. Own a wine cellar. Correspond with the pope. Laura Carney started doing these things even though it took six years.

CARNEY: I've become a person now who really likes to encourage people to try hard things.

FADEL: Last month, she checked off the last item, record five songs.

CARNEY: (Singing) Someday, we'll find it, the rainbow connection, the lovers, the dreamers, and me.

It was emotional for me because my dad was a singer. And I chose the songs that I most associated with him. But at the same time, it felt really fulfilling that I could have a way to celebrate that.

INSKEEP: She says finishing the list honored her dad and also helped her.

CARNEY: In that way, I've taken something and, like an alchemist, I've been able to spin it into gold.

FADEL: In the end, Carney checked something off her own bucket list, writing a book. "My Father's List" is due out in July. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.